LIHEAP / ECAP: UpdatedPrepaid Utility Accounts & LIHEAP

Unlike the traditional utility account, the prepaid account is a pay as-you-go account. The household puts funds on the account prior to using the utility and the funds are drawn down as the utility is used. Sometimes the prepaid account can be referred to as a cash only or cash advance account. Once the funds fall below a specific amount, usually $25, the utility company will notify the household additional funds are needed.

Winter Heating / Summer Cooling

LIHEAP pays the eligible amount on the Appendix C-7-A.

LIHEAP payment does not increase to cover additional amounts for reconnection fees, inactive accounts, or outstanding debt.

Energy Crisis Assistance Program (ECAP)

The crisis criteria in policy for a prepaid account is that the account must have less thana $25 minimum balance in the account.

Service is on:

We pay for one month of average usage.

Q: The household has a prepaid utility account and service is still on. His utility provider requires a $40 minimum to be on the account. Can we authorize an additional $40 for his pre-paid account?

A: No. Since his service is still on, we can only authorize one month average use if $40 is one month of average usage that is what we would pay. If $200 is one month average use we would pay $200.  INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:20-1-17(6)(b)

Service is off:

ECAP pays for one month of average usage plus the reconnection fee.

Q: The household has a pre-paid utility account and service is off. His utility provider requires a $40 reconnection fee. His monthly average usage is $215. Can we authorize $255 ($40 reconnection + 215 average monthly usage) for his pre-paid account?

A: Yes. Since his service is off, we can authorize one month average usage and the reconnection fees.  INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:20-1-17(6)(b)

Most providers, for prepaid accounts, require funds to be received prior to crediting a prepaid account. They will not accept an ECAP pledge.

Life Threatening

Service is on:

LT ECAP will pay for one month of average usage and any arrearage owed.

Q: The household has a pre-paid utility account and service is still on. His utility provider requires a $40 minimum to be on the account. Can we authorize an additional $40 for his pre-paid account?

A: No. Since his service is still on, we can only authorize one month average use if $40 is one month of average usage that is what we would pay. If $200 is one month average use we would pay $200.  INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:20-1-17(6)(b)

Q: A client has pre-paid utility account. His service is still on and his current balance is negative (-) $398.21 as verified with utility provider. His monthly average is $215. What amount would be authorized?

A: If he meets the other program requirements, we would authorize $613.21 (398.21 + 215. monthly average) if it still available in his fiscal eligibility ECAP bucket. INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:20-1-17(6)(b)

Service is off:

LT ECAP will pay for one month of average usage, any arrearage owed, and reconnection fee.

Q: An elderly client provided verification that her oxygen tank is required to be plugged in to operate. She has a pre-paid utility account and her service has been off for two days. Her utility provider requires a minimum $65 to turn her service back on. Can she receive an additional amount on top of her monthly average usage?

A: Yes. Since her service has been off and the $65 reconnection fee is the minimum requirement to turn the service back on, we can pay for one month of average usage plus the reconnection fee.  If her monthly average usage was $115 we would pay $180. (65 +115) if it still available in his fiscal eligibility ECAP bucket. INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:20-1-17(6)(b)

Q: A client has pre-paid utility account. His service is off, the utility provider requires a $50 reconnection fee and his current balance is negative (-) $398.21 as verified with utility provider. His monthly average is $215. What amount would be authorized?

A: If he meets the other program requirements, we would authorize $663.21(50 reconnection +398.21 negative balance + 215. monthly average) if it still available in his fiscal eligibility ECAP bucket. INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:20-1-17(6)(b)

Q: A client has pre-paid utility account. His service is off, the utility provider states he has a balance of $300 from a previous address the provider will not turn service on at the new address unless the old bill is paid off.  Can we pay for the $300 + the monthly average usage of $215 (from old address)?

A: No, ECAP funds cannot be used to pay utility charges carried over from a previous utility account or that is in debt collection, unless the client moved to a new location because of a domestic violence situation and provides proof of the domestic violence, such as a police report. If eligible, LT will pay the required amount if it still available in his fiscal eligibility ECAP bucket. 340:20-1-17(g)(1)

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